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Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

URPP GCB: Project 4 - Quantification and predictions of ecosystem services at policy-relevant scales (UZH)


PIs: Michael O'Brien, Bernhard Schmid, Kentaro Shimizu


Forest biodiversity as an insurance against global change – We will use experimental plots of a large forest biodiversity experiment of the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment (SBE) (Hector et al., 2011b) and additional comparative study plots at the Borneo site to analyse patterns of tree mortality in 25 species to investigate whether differences in survival in the face of drought increase system stability in the context of the more frequent and intense El Nino droughts predicted for this century. The species belong to the genus Shorea of the dominant tree family in SE Asian rainforests, the Dipterocarpaceae. The influence of abiotic environmental drivers such as climate and soil conditions as well as biotic drivers such as competition and pathogens on differential mortality between species will be tested with novel statistical approaches and in collaboration with project 7. The biodiversity within the forest ecosystem resulting from these mortality patterns will be predicted, and information from the experiment will be used to infer the consequences of biodiversity change for ecosystem functioning and services. Ecosystem services such as timber yield and carbon storage will be predicted under different land-use scenarios at policy-relevant scales. A satellite study will be carried out using data from another large forest biodiversity experiment in Southeast China (BEF-China, Bruelheide et al., Ecol. Monogr. 2011) to test predictions made with the Borneo data in a subtropical ecosystem.